I kept hearing [by listening to podcasts and audiobooks, which are among my top favourite activities on Earth] that wealth and luxury are actually elements we, by which I mean, you, me, each and every one of us gets to define for ourselves [I’ve last heard this idea in this book].
I rolled my eyes a lot at this idea, but one Wednesday in July 2019 I had a light-bolt moment concerning it. So, yeah I got to see that luxury it is indeed something I get to define myself.
This is the third summer in a row that I find summer relaxing. It is not that I am not working. Because I am. But something about working in the summer makes it all so … peaceful. I find work rewarding and I love to have something to do.
But maybe what contributed to this feeling is that there is less pressure on getting things done [as people are on holidays or thinking about holidays or too hot to think at all], less deadlines, less pressure to answer immediately as there are many out-of-office e-mails coming in.
It’s not the first summer I get to feeling this. Is actually my third. To be completely honest, it could be my fourth, I just don’t remember what had happened that summer. Or the summer before. I will just write about what I remember thus.
Two years ago I had about eight weeks of unpaid holiday. I went on the field for about four of them. Lots of walking, speaking to locals, turning them from strangers into respondents in my research. I took many pictures, drank tons of water, worn-off my sandals and sweated a lot, as I spent entire days outside, in villages which were once flooded. I also got time inside, writing notes, analysing discussions, saving photos and watching videos.
The remaining weeks I spent at home, transcribing interviews during the night, while taking care of my grandmother and visiting my mother in the hospital during the day. There was sleeping in between.
Despite it being a rough summer realizing that things do change [for some reasons, I cognitively know all this, but there are times in life when these life-lessons just hit me in a new, painful, way], there is still something poetic about it. I believe it’s mostly due to being so out of my comfort zone [which is pretty limited anyway] that made me stay focused and pay attention to the task at hand. No day dreaming, no time to complain or thinking about how I wished things were different. Too much at stake for it.
Last summer my [main] working contract ended with May 2018 [unexpected circumstances got me back in August], so I focused most of my energy on getting my thesis written. I mostly slept throughout the day and wrote during the night [or watched movies on Netflix; what can I say? It’s how I relax apparently (relax, hide from the reality, procrastinate, you pick)]. The boyfriend and I got to spend about two weeks in beautiful Germany, so that was great.
And there is this summer, when I am working two jobs, both part time and somehow I got to make lots and lots of time for myself: when not in the office nor at the computer, I went outside a lot, I spent time in parks, I went to the pool, I went to the gym, I read lots of not-related-to-work-books [directly related, I mean, as it is all related, we like it or not].
But there was one particular day, when I felt I am really, really lucky. It was a regular Wednesday in July 2019 when I realized just how luxurious it all is. It was 11:00 in the morning, on a sunny day and I was drinking a sugarless drink while enjoying the sun by the pool in the city centre.
Simply amazing. I am sure it can get better than this, but there was this one moment when I felt just how perfect it all is.
Now, that is what I believe the meaning of wealth is to me: to set my own schedule, to get time outside, preferably somewhere were there is water to swim in, where there aren’t people making a lot of noise, where the music is nice [or not at all], where there’s a good book on a pleasant day.
What I love about this meaning of wealth & luxury is that it is not expensive.
It may require energy and leverage to negotiate schedule. To have some money to spend for non-essential goods and knowledge about what makes you feel good. Which actually makes that non-essential spending as pretty essential, because those money buy experiences which make you happy. And when you are happy, you are more keen to help others, work better and invest in the happiness of dear ones [Gretchen Rubin wrote this amazing book on happiness in which this idea is extensively explained and exemplified].
Hope your having a luxurious rest of a summer.
This post is not sponsored and the links in this post are placed to help you find books, websites, platforms that make my life better. Hope they help you too.
And before you go, don’t forget: Make the day count!